Finding your first job is never easy; it takes persistence and tenacity, along with planning and perhaps a bit of luck. Often, potential candidates new to technology and seeking their first job in this industry do it wrong due to a lack of specific intent. Here is what I mean.
Trying to be appealing to everyone is a mistake
There are three common errors candidates right out of college or bootcamps looking for a new job in tech make:
Spray-and-pray generic job applications
Learn a small amount about too many different topics
Little to no networking efforts
Here is some guidance that will help you avoid making these errors.
Pick a niche that you likely will be okay with for one or two years. Be specific!
Define the specific job you want.
Wrong: “I want to be a full-stack developer for a company.”
Correct: “I want to work with React with a Nodejs backend and DynamoDB for a financial services startup with fewer than 100 employees.”
Privately, write in roughly 300-word document about why that specific type of role interests you. Become proficient in explaining it verbally.
Double-down on learning the tech you’ve specified
Find 10 companies that have your niche and 3-5 engineers in each. One should be an engineering manager/leader
A spreadsheet organized by company and each targeted individual (you can generally find employees really easily on LinkedIn)
Define three questions that would help you better understand what their day-to-day work and challenges are
Message each; explain your motives
Send them a Google doc with questions; offer to do a video call
Distill the responses and apply
You’ll have content from 30-50 engineers in roughly the same niche that you defined, and 90-150 unique answers to the same three questions.
What’s common and what’s different? Summarize your takeaways and insights. Publish this online (blog, LinkedIn, etc.) Share it with everyone who responded to your outreach with a thank-you note.
Why you apply to jobs, reference this body of work.
There you have it. I hope you find value here in helping you find your first high tech job in your niche of choice.